PerfectPitch Uses DMCA To Get Product Mentions Removed From Google

Update: The owner of the website PerfectPitch.com has apologized for the takedown notice, and says it was an accident on his end. Here’s his email.

[Original post follows:]
Here’s another example of a company misusing the law to try to hide or remove third-party commentary about its services. This time it’s a website called PerfectPitch.com, and its owner Gary Boucherle of American Educational Music, Inc. apparently doesn’t like it when anyone talks about the product without his permission.

Jeremy Keith of the blog Adactio says he received a notice from Google two days ago that the search engine was removing all links to a post where PerfectPitch was mentioned by a commenter. The reason Google provided: “Somone has filed a DMCA complaint against your site.”

Keith posted the offending comment from the original thread on his other blog, The Session, which I’ll repost below:

I think that is referring to http://www.PerfectPitch.com. I’m not saying anything about such commercially-oriented courses because I don’t know them, but I think we’d all be wise to bear in mind the general comments voiced in the first two posts on this thread.

Because that comment is so innocuous, Keith is wondering if Boucherle wanted it gone because he thought it was criticism, or if really he’s just trying to force his own site to the top of the Google search results page by abusing the DMCA to get other results kicked off. Either way, it’s not a legitimate use of the DMCA. Or as Keith puts it:

The Session has pretty good Google juice. The markup is pretty lean, the content is semantically structured and there’s plenty of inbound links. Could it be that the owner of perfectpitch.com sent a DMCA complaint to Google simply because another site was getting higher rankings for the phrase “perfect pitch“? If so, then that’s a whole new level of SEO snake-oilery.

Blog post on ‘PerfectPitch’ Takedown Notice [Adactio via Techdirt]
“Perfect Pitch” [The Session]

RELATED
“PerfectPitch Owner Apologizes For DMCA Notice, Explains What Happened”
(Photo: Chesi – Fotos CC)

Comments

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  1. edison234 says:

    You have a typo on his name… Gary Doucherle seems correct.

  2. aka_mich says:

    So does this mean in casual commenting we’re not allowed to mention in passing such companies as Target, Best Buy, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Apple, Microsoft, Google, ESPN, and other random companies?

    • dadelus says:

      @aka_mich: You forgot MONSTER!!!! Beverage or Cable, you’re choice.

    • Rachacha says:

      @aka_mich: Sure you can, but they all need to be disemvoweled:
      Trgt, Bst By, Wlmrt, Hm Dpt, Lws, ppl, Mcrsft, Ggl, SPN, and Mnstr. My favorite would be any mention of the American Automobile Association would simply be ” “.

  3. Weakly says:

    Good thing they’re drafting the much stronger ACTA… with all the same potential for abuse as the DMCA.

    [www.huffingtonpost.com]

    Oh wait, that isn’t good at all!

  4. Aaronjk says:

    Their website is designed like all the “Make money on Google” and “Make $5000 per Week” scams!! I bet perfectpitch.com is a scam!!

  5. sir_eccles says:

    How weird, when I do a google search for perfectpitch all I get are links to stories about them abusing the DMCA.

  6. DefineStatutory says:

    hmm…so, in theory, if everyone made a comment about a player throwing a PERFECT PITCH in a baseball game, it would make this guy angry?

    I’m all for that.

    • Difdi says:

      @DefineStatutory: Yeah, perfect pitches rock.

      There’s also the talent commonly known as Perfect Pitch. To have Perfect Pitch, you have to be able to accurately and precisely (Perfectly, even) hear the Pitch of any note, then be able to reproduce it vocally.

      Some varieties of tree produce high quality, one might even say Perfect Pitch.

  7. Aaronjk says:

    Are they gonna sue all the pitchers that throw a PERFECT PITCH?
    Doesn’t it always seem though that these scammers all sue?

  8. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    God, the DMCA is so flawed on so many levels. Please pressure your congresscritters to change some of the ridiculous parts of this law.

    We could start with the whole “burden being on the alleged infringer to prove that the content does infringe rather than on the rights holder to prove that their rights are being infringed” thing.

    • johnfrombrooklyn says:

      @WiglyWorm must cease and decist: So if I am professional videographer and I find 1000 instances of my professional work on YouTube, I should be forced to prove each and every one of these violates my copyright? That’s crap.

      • lmarconi says:

        @johnfrombrooklyn: Out of curiosity, why do you feel that’s more unfair than the flip side of a private individual creating a work and then having to provide legal proof of fair use when challenged by a professional?
        I agree with WiglyWorm that the copyright holders have too much room to just point fingers at random and hope the little guy isn’t smart enough/rich enough to fight it. There’s been rampant instances of parties telling Youtube a particular video is copyright infringement, when it’s in fact fair use (Prince and the Dancing Baby anyone) and the poor housewife now has to provide proof to the big corporation that it’s fair use to keep it up.

        What would be nice is if host companies (Google) took the time to establish an independent commission that would determine whether something is actually a copyright violation before blindly throwing out a takedown notice, but I think that’s pretty improbable.

      • Ragman says:

        @johnfrombrooklyn: No, that’s your responsibility to protect your copyright. The burden of proof should rest with the accuser. Like it does in criminal law.

      • kmw2 says:

        @johnfrombrooklyn: Yes, you should. Of course, if you’re the copyright holder and you have a legitimate claim, that should be easy enough. Likewise, if you’re not issuing a takedown notice to someone who slagged off your professional work because it “violates your copyright”, which is what most of the abusive cases are related to. Not, you know, actual copyright violations.

  9. JeffMc says:

    Isn’t there another side to the DMCA where if you file false claims you’re in serious trouble?

  10. ChemicallyInert says:

    Streisand effect on PerfectPitch in 3… 2… 1…

  11. Underpants Gnome says:

    Wasn’t there a provision for legal action against companies who file fraudulent takedown notices?
    I thought I had read somewhere that sending a takedown notice for something that does not infringe on your copyright could leave you liable for any damages stemming from the takedown. In this case, the blog owner’s lost ad revenue from being de-listed from Google.

    • JeffMc says:

      @Underpants Gnome: I thought the same thing. Haven’t bothered trying to look it up, though.

    • Underpants Gnome says:

      @Underpants Gnome:

      [www.law.cornell.edu]

      (f) Misrepresentations.- Any person who knowingly materially misrepresents under this section-
      (1) that material or activity is infringing, or
      (2) that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification,
      shall be liable for any damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees, incurred by the alleged infringer, by any copyright owner or copyright owner’s authorized licensee, or by a service provider, who is injured by such misrepresentation, as the result of the service provider relying upon such misrepresentation in removing or disabling access to the material or activity claimed to be infringing, or in replacing the removed material or ceasing to disable access to it.

  12. pot_roast says:

    Once again, the basically worthless DMCA rears its ugly head.

  13. vk2tds says:

    Could the issue be that someone actually suggested that the PerfectPitch software was available as a BitTorrent?

  14. Révolution says:

    PerfectPitch.com’s operators are a bunch of lawsuit crazed morons. Go ahead, send me a takedown notice.

  15. elangomatt says:

    I hope that Consumerist posts the DCMA takedown notice that they are probably going to be getting from perfectpitch. Or maybe PerfectPitch is smart enough to know that Consumerist won’t be bullied around.

  16. microcars says:

    so, immediately file a DMCA counter notice and get the material back up:
    [www.citmedialaw.org]

  17. bigd7387 says:

    Walmart = Hell

    Good now Hell & Walmart are equal when searching google.

  18. Coelacanth says:

    Heh. I’m curious to see what “method” they’re using. Then again, I don’t need to pay $129 to develop perfect pitch. I have it already :)

  19. crimebll says:

    Does the DMCA really make a difference in this case? Google could have taken the same action by explaining “somebody filed a complaint against you” or even without offering an explanation at all.

  20. gover57 says:

    @ARP: I always thought you could refer or use any copyrighted material in the following ways: commentary, personal opinion, reviews, and satire. maybe we should all refer to perfectpitch in satirical ways, thus using their copyrights freely AND making fun of them….